For many people, it's not officially spring until they turn on the TV and see the azaleas that bloom each April at the Augusta National Country Club in Georgia-the site of the Masters professional golf tournament.
Azaleas are a large, diverse group of flowering shrubs with single and double blooms in many shades of white, purple, red, pink or orange. Most bloom from early to late spring with a few extending later into the growing season.
To enjoy the beauty of azaleas at your own home, begin by choosing a variety that is well adapted to your garden environment and climate.
"Check with your local nursery, home center or cooperative extension service to see what they recommend based on your region of the country," says Bayer Advanced™ Garden Expert Lance Walheim, who wrote the best-selling book "Roses for Dummies" and is a regular contributor to Sunset magazine. He thinks choosing the right types and varieties for your area is the first step to success. "Then choose a consistent color theme as opposed to the Crayola Crayon approach of mixing them up."